Etkin News Agency (ETHA) editor Semiha Şahin and correspondent Pınar Gayıp were detained on April 13th, 2018 under an investigation launched by Istanbul Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office.
The investigation was based on two charges: “Spreading propaganda over the social media for Marxist Leninist Communist Party (MLKP)” and “Participating in the funerals of and commemorative ceremonies for MLKP members killed in Syria”.
After a week-long detention, Gayıp and Şahin were arrested for alleged “membership of an armed terror organization” and “spreading propaganda for a terror organization”. The indictment against them was completed on May 7th, 2018.
In the indictment, the prosecutor charged Şahin with “membership of an armed terror organization”, “continuously spreading propaganda for a terror organization” and “violating the Law on Meetings and Rallies”. Şahin faces a total of nine years nine months to 29 years nine months in prison.
Gayıp, on the other hand, is charged with “membership of an armed terror organization” and “continuously spreading propaganda for a terror organization”. Gayıp faces a total of eight years nine months to 23 years nine months in prison.
Their trial began with the first hearing held at İstanbul 23. High Criminal Court on September 10th, 2018.
Gayıp and Şahin were released from prison at the fifth hearing on June 13th, 2019. They had spent 420 days in prison, pending trial. Although released, the journalists were imposed “house arrests” and “overseas travel bans”.
At the seventh hearing on December 11th, 2019, their house arrests were terminated, however their overseas travel bans still continue.
The eighth hearing was held on February 27th, 2020. Semiha Şahin and her lawyers did not attend the hearing. The court ruled that the digital materials seized from the journalists ought to be returned to them.
The ninth hearing was scheduled for May 14th, 2020; however, it was postponed due to the measures against the coronavirus outbreak.
The trial will continue with the 10th hearing on September 9th, 2020.
Press in Arrest is a database, monitoring, documentation and collective memory study of Press Research Association.
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